Welcoming Attendees to a Google Meet

I was good at remembering how many weeks we have been teaching remotely, but once we hit the double digits, I started to loose track. I think we must either be on week 10 or 11 by now. Never did I expect to be out for this long. I remember joining in on a webinar, back in late March, listening to teachers from overseas and how they had already been teaching remotely for 10 weeks. At that time, it was only week 2 for me. I thought, “wow, hope we won’t be in that situation!” Well, here we are.

For this blog post, I wanted to highlight how you could kick it up a notch when welcoming attendees to a Google Meet. By now, we all have either been participants or attendees of virtual meetings, conversations, lessons or webinars. It has become our new normal whether we like it or not.

Well, two weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to participate in a two part training series that Google put on for Google for Education Certified Trainers. Google had members of Future Design Schools deliver the training. We were exposed to ways in how we can support our colleagues using G-Suite tools with students in a remote setting in addition to how we could think about assessment differently. In a future blog post, I will address this more. However, what I really want to highlight right now is how I was welcomed in the Google Meet.

Many times, I get a link to a Google Meet, click on the link and depending on who is already in the link small talk happens. If it is a training, a welcome slide with the title of the training appears in front of me. To be honest, sometimes, it can be awkward. Well, when I joined in on G-Suite training, right away, there was what appeared to be a looped Google Slide presentation giving me important information for me to know about before the actual training was going to start. Even better, there was music playing that helped set the mood. So not only was I reading about how I needed to mute myself, and think about questions that I had, I was also relaxed and excited about what was to come based on the music that was playing in the background. The tone was set and time was not wasted with logistical information.

This got me thinking that is no different than if we were in school. A lot of times, there are teachers who will play music while students are coming into class to set the stage for what was to come. This is not any different.

Over the past 3 months, the Google Meet team has been making advancements to the product. One of those features that was added was giving the presenter an opportunity to present a chrome tab instead of presenting the whole screen. This is great because there are times where you just want attendees to see one tab on your screen, but not everything. This feature is also extremely helpful when you want to show a video or play audio from a particular tab. In other words, if I am the presenter, I can have my microphone muted in the Meet while I am presenting a chrome tab that has a YouTube video playing or an audio file playing. Attendees would be able to hear what is coming from that tab. This is very helpful and with the process described below, I will be highlighting that particular feature.

Presenting a Chrome Tab in Google Meet

Before running a Google Meet, it is always good to be mindful of how many tabs you have open in your chrome browser as well as other applications. Close whatever you absolutely don’t need. Also, if it has been awhile since you have completely shut down your device, take the few minutes and give your device a reboot.

First step is to obviously get to your Google Meet link that you are running. I recommend getting in at least five minutes before you think the first person will join. When getting in, I find it helpful to mute my microphone and camera even before I join in on a Google Meet – you don’t have to do this.

Next, I determine what tab I am going to present to the attendees to help give them direction or instructions while they wait for everyone else to join in on the Meet call. Then, I select present menu, followed by ‘a chrome tab’. Find the appropriate tab in the list and choose share.

Once you have presented a chrome tab, you will always have a message that is shown on the top indicating what tab you are presenting to the attendees. (See image below) If you decide that eventually you want to change the tab that you are presenting to a new one, you are able to make that happen by selecting the black “Share this tab instead” button in the top message bar. On the Google Meet tab, you will notice that there is a “presentation audio” radio button. The default is to play the audio that is on that tab. If for some reason you want to mute that audio, you can turn off the radio button.

Screenshot of what it looks like when you are presenting a chrome tab.

Ways to Welcome Attendees

Below are three ways in which you can replicate the situation that I described in my G-Suite training above, all depending on your level of comfort and what you are trying to accomplish. Each of these have a different set up process but you might find one that works best for one situation and then another for a different situation.

  1. Google Slide with Music File
  2. Google Slide with YouTube Music Video
  3. Google Slide with Music File and Gif

Google Slide with Music File

For this situation, you need a Google Slide presentation with whatever welcoming information or message you want to give students. The idea is to have each slide have its own piece of information. You will eventually have the Google Slide loop through all slides while music is playing. The music file will also loop once the song has finished. In the example below, the Google Slide was used for a 7-12 Wed Chat where we wanted to hear from staff about their experience of teaching remotely. Five slides were put together with music embedded on the first slide. Each slide has its own piece of information.

STEPS

  1. Put content your slides (Want a template to get your started? click HERE)
  2. Upload the song file you want to use in Google Drive.
  3. Once uploaded to drive, insert the audio on the first slide through the insert menu, followed by audio.
  4. Select the audio button that appears, followed by format options. Make sure that you have selected auto play when presenting, loop, and uncheck stop when go to next slide.
Gif showing how to make inserted audio file auto play and loop through presentation when in present mode

5. Once you have all of your info ready to go, it is time to get to your Google Meet. Keep in mind with this scenario, the only information that is on this slide presentation is all information that attendees should know before the Google Meet conversation officially starts. Because the presentation is going to loop, I cannot have any other information on any other slide that I don’t want attendees to see. You will notice that once I present the chrome tab, I then go to the slide presentation, hit present and select appropriate settings for the presentation to loop through using the gear settings icon. I chose to have the presentation loop through the slides every 5 seconds. The gif below will walk you through those steps.

Gif shows you how to loop your Google Slide presentation automatically

Google slide with YouTube Music Video

For this situation, you need a Google Slide presentation with whatever welcoming message you want to give students on the first slide. Then, you will find a YouTube video that has the music that you would like to have played while the participants join in. You aren’t going to have the students watch the video. Rather, you will make the video really small so that people really won’t know that you are playing a video. Thanks to Donna Dennis for giving me this idea.

STEPS

  1. Put content on first slide (Want a template to get your started? Click HERE)
  2. Find YouTube music video
  3. Insert YouTube video (insert menu, followed by ‘video’ and paste the link to your video)
  4. Decrease the size of the video
  5. Select the video and choose format settings. Under video playback submenu select ‘Autoplay when presenting’
Gif showing how to make inserted YouTube video auto play when in present mode

6. Once you have all of your info ready to go, it is time to get to your Google Meet. Keep in mind with this scenario, the only information that is on this first slide presentation will be viewable. You won’t be looping the presentation so this feature can be great if you have other information in additional slides of the presentation that you want to show after everyone gets in to the Meet. Keep in mind that the YouTube video is already set to auto play once Google Slide goes into presentation mode.

Gif demonstrating how to present Google Slide with embedded YouTube video

Google Slide with Music File and Gif

This scenario is for those of you who are up for a challenge. This is where the true inspiration came for this blog post. This is what I witnessed happened when I attended a training from Quin and Diane from Future Design Schools. For this situation, you need a Google Slide presentation with whatever welcoming information or message you want to give students. You would then use Screencastify or another web tool that easily allows you to create a gif file of the material you want to loop through. Once gif file is made, you would insert that gif on the first slide by using insert image feature.

Why would you want to go through all of the hassle of creating a gif? Great question. This situation is similar to the idea mentioned above with “Google Slides with YouTube Music Video” but because you have more to share with the attendees that can fit on one slide, you might consider creating a gif file to insert on that first slide. By creating a gif, it looks like the presentation is looping through, when in fact, the presentation never leaves slide one of xx number of slides.

STEPS

  1. Put content on your slides (Want a template to get your started? click HERE)
  2. Launch Screencastify or other tool that allows for gif making
  3. Create your gif and download it to your computer
  4. Insert that gif on the first slide of the full presentation that you are planning on going through during the Google Meet. This can be done by selecting image from the insert menu.
  5. Then insert audio file on that slide by choosing audio from the insert menu

Are you still with me?

I don’t want you to think that every time you have a Google Meet, you have to have a welcoming slide of information or that you have to include music. As with everything else, there is a time and a place for an idea like this. If you have never done this before, it does not mean you are running Google Meets incorrectly. Just hope this helps inspire you to think differently in the future.

As always, if you have any questions on how you can use something like this in your own setting, you know where to find me.

And that is my Spiel…

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